CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern will travel to Radford, Virginia this weekend as the Buccaneers take on Radford in a doubleheader on Saturday, with the series finale game set for Sunday afternoon. First pitch of Saturday's doubleheader between the Bucs and the Highlanders is set for 1:00 p.m. and Sunday's series wrap up is also scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. Fans can follow the action on the Big South Network or via live stats on csusports.com and in-game updates on Twitter: @CSUGameday.
Radford enters this weekend's matchup witha 17-15 record on the season and a 3-3 mark in conference play. The Highlanders are coming off their midweek loss to East Carolina, where they were shutout by the Pirates, 5-0.
Conference Play - #6 Charleston Southern at #5 Radford
The Highlanders are 3-3 in conference play, falling to Liberty on March 24 and 25 and Gardner-Webb in game two of last Saturday's doubleheader at Brinkley Stadium. Radford topped Liberty once on March 23 and won their series with Gardner-Webb last weekend, 2-1.
During the Shane Winkler era, Charleston Southern has recorded a 6-19 mark against Radford. In their last meeting with the Highlanders on March 21, the Buccaneers topped Radford, 8-5, at home. CSU has not won a series with the Highlanders since 2011.
At the plate
Hunter Mundy leads the Highlanders at the plate with a .374 batting average. The freshman is ranked seventh in the Big South for both batting average and slugging percentage (.615) and is tied for fourth in the conference with 27 RBI in her rookie season. The third baseman earned the Big South Freshman of the Week honor on March 27 with four multi-hit outings through a five-game strech.
Marissa Gagliano is Radford's runner to keep an eye on. The redshirt-sophomore paces the Highlanders with 24 runs scored and 17 stolen bases out of 24 attempts.
Brittany Wratchford boasts the big bat for the Highlanders, with a team-high seven home runs, sharing the number four spot for most home runs in the Big South.
In the circle
Radford is a force to be reckoned with on the rubber. Abby Morrow (13-8) and Kayla Huffman (3-4) lead the Highlanders in the circle with a combined 132 strikeouts.
Morrow means business this season. The senior leads the Big South with 13 wins and collected her second straight and fourth career Big South Pitcher of the Week honor on March 6. With 64 strikeouts, Morrow is ranked fifth in the conference and has caught 22 batters looking (T#3 BSC). Morrow has proven she can go the distance, pitching 113.2 innings on the season for the second highest innings pitched in the league. In her 20 starts, the Ruther Glen, Virginia native has recorded 10 complete game efforts.
Huffman is tied for third in the league with a 2.80 ERA. The sophomore has struck out 68 batters (#5 BSC), including 17 batters struck out looking (#6 BSC). Huffman has proven she's tough to hit, with a team-best .255 opposing batting average that is sixth-best in the league.
Last Time Against Radford
Charleston Southern 8, Radford 5 (March 21, 2016)
Charleston Southern's bats exploded for 17 hits on Monday afternoon as the Buccaneers rallied past Radford in the final game of the Big South series against the Highlanders, 8-5.
Jade Gandara, Amanda Matsumoto and Stevi Johnson all had three hits apiece for the Bucs, while Lexie Vanada, Brittany McPherson and Caitlyn Emberson all had multi-hit games as CSU scored six runs over the final three innings to take the final game of the series from Radford.
The win marked another milestone in Winkler's career with the Buccaneers as the head coach recorded his 200th career win in his eighth season at CSU.
Lexie Vanada came through with another clutch hit for the Bucs in the bottom of the sixth as the junior utility player connected on the go-ahead two-run single giving CSU the 7-5 lead. Vanada finished 2-for-4 from the plate and is hitting .524 over the past nine games.
The Bucs utilized a standout performance in the circle by reliever Arizona Pilgrim (5-3) as the freshman shut down the Highlanders offense over the final four innings. Pilgrim scattered three hits while striking out four to limit the Radford threat.
CSU opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Matsumoto scored on Stephanie Bergmann's RBI single to left field.
Radford responded with three runs in the top of the second with Hannah Medlam tripling in Kayla Bishton with one out in the frame. Nia Chiles added an RBI single to left, while Becky Mantel drove in Chiles with a single back up the middle to give the Highlanders the 3-1 lead.
McPherson connected on her third home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the second. The CSU junior right fielder drove the ball into the wind and over the left field fence to narrow the RU lead down to 3-2.
Chiles drove in two with a bases-loaded single down the third base line scoring Kayla Bishton and Casey Burns to extend the Radford lead before Hayley Elkins shut down the Highlanders' offense with a strikeout to end the inning.
Gandara started the CSU comeback in the bottom of the fourth inning with the freshman drilling a line drive double off the centerfield wall, scoring Matsumoto to put the game at 5-3 Radford.
Ashtin Kullnat scored on Emberson's single through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the fifth to make it a one-run ball game before CSU broke the contest open in the sixth.
Johnson connected on the RBI single scoring Matsumoto with one out to tie the game up at 5-5. Vanada followed with a two-run single driving in Johnson and Gandara to give the Bucs the 7-5 lead. Stephanie Baro added a run-scoring single down the right field line to give the Bucs the 8-5 lead.
Pilgrim retired Radford in order in the top of the seventh, retiring RU's Whitney Davis on strikes to end the ballgame.
Recapping CSU's Last Game
Hot bats and four home runs led Charleston Southern to an 8-3 victory over Alabama State on Tuesday afternoon at CSU Softball Field.
Caitlyn Emberson paced the Buccaneers (18-26) with a pair of home runs, a double and two RBI. Cheyenne Gandara and Georgi DeLio also contributed homers to help CSU combine for 13 hits on the day.
Holly Clark opened the game in the circle for the Bucs and recorded two strikeouts while allowing two earned runs through just over two innings. Arizona Pilgrim (5-9) entered the game in the third frame and held ASU hitless while striking out one through the fifth. Nicole Ayala closed out the contest, allowing one earned run and striking out a pair in the Buccaneer win.
Alabama State (11-23) came out swinging and scored two runs off of three hits and one CSU error in the first frame. A walk put Amanda Matsumoto on base in the bottom of the inning. The fleet-footed senior stole second, then advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Jade Gandara knocked the Bucs' first run in with a single up the middle, while sister Cheyenne added two more with a home run over right center. Emberson kept the big bats going and followed with a solo home run to right field to give the Bucs the 4-2 advantage after one complete frame.
Emberson recorded her second solo home run in the bottom of the third on an 0-2 count. With two outs and a runner on first, DeLio followed suit and homered to right field to give CSU the 7-2 lead after three.
Several walks loaded the bases for the Bucs in the bottom of the fifth, and a rip up the middle from Stevi Johnson got CSU's eighth and final run across for a score of 8-2.
Perry Hindi led the Hornets off with an infield hit to open the sixth frame. CSU's defense came up big as Ayala retired ASU's next batter and DeLio caught the runner stealing to put two away and clear the bases. First baseman Diauna Nelson came to the plate and connected for the Hornets' lone home run of the contest and the freshman's first collegiate homer.
In the top of the seventh Ayala shut down the Hornets allowing one hit and picking up her second strikeout to close out the 8-3 win at home.
Charleston Southern leads the Big South with 50 home runs this season, nearly 23 more than the next highest team in the league (Radford-27). The Buccaneers have recorded the third most home runs of any team in the country. The Bucs are right behind Louisiana's 52, while Arizona leads the NCAA with 56. CSU is also ranked 10th in the nation with 1.14 home runs per game.
Sophomore Jade Gandara leads the pack of home run hitters and the Big South with 13 on the season and is tied for the fifth most homers of any softball player in the country. Gandara also leads the conference with 100 total bases and is ranked third in the NCAA.